Organizing Your Refrigerator to Make Dinners Easier

Written by: Jessica Schanberg

Feeding a family can get chaotic sometimes, so I thought about some ways that you can simplify and organize your refrigerator, in order to make cooking dinner and other meals easier.

The first step is to take everything out of the fridge and clean it. Throw away old condiments and old food. Once your fridge is clean, you can start putting things together in a more orderly fashion. Keep like with like. Fruit in the fruit drawer and vegetables in the vegetable bin, for example. Keeping dairy products, meat and bread separated will make it easier for you to find them quickly when you need them.

The second step is to go through your pantry and make sure you have all of the basics that you need and toss things that you never use. Try to put like with like in the pantry as well, so you can easily find everything. Having basic things like different kinds of pasta, spaghetti sauces, salad dressing and tuna, for example, will make your weekly shopping go a lot easier.

Part of this process is shopping. Make a list for the week and either order it on Peapod, or go to the store. Make a list that includes the ingredients for at least 5 cooked meals of your choosing. Bookmark these recipes or print them out from your computer, so you have them at the ready. Keep the recipes simple. I recommend using cookbooks that use less ingredients and make quicker, no hassle recipes, like:

  1. Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-approved meals you can make in under 30 minutes (Primal Blueprint Series) by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier
  2. Robin Rescues Dinner: 52 Weeks of Quick-Fix Meals, 350 Recipes, and a Realistic Plan to Get Weeknight Dinners on the Table by Robin Miller
  3. Gluten-Free Quick & Easy: From Prep to Plate Without the Fuss - 200+ Recipes for People with Food Sensitivities by Carol Lee Fenster

Once you have all of the ingredients, think about when you or your partner, can make something in advance and freeze it, or make it the day before. This will save a lot of stress at dinnertime, as you will only have to reheat the meal. There may even be leftovers!

I do recommend shopping for your pantry first and making it well stocked, as that will be a big job in itself and then choosing another day to get the groceries for the week. Peapod, the grocery delivery company, is a great way to stock up on pantry items and to have a standing order, so that you will never be without the basics.

To save leftovers and premade food, check out the Container Store. They also have bins that can further organize you fridge and freezer.

Having a well organized pantry and refrigerator can save you lots of time and give you more time to relax and spend quality time with your family.

This article is a guest post by Jessica Schanberg of Chicago based Pixel Peony. She is a computer savvy Personal Assistant and Personal Organizer/Graphic Designer. As an organizer, Jessica is adept at creating systems for her clients that help them to live better clutter-free lives in their environments.

Flickr photo credits by philipbahr

Posted on March 19, 2012 at 8:47 AM